The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Good-Bye To A Topsy, Turvy Year

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Another year is coming to a close. One of my worst mentally.

From the beginning of the year Nat struggled with his back – major pain, along with physical and mental strain became the norm for the first six months. Day after day, week after week he struggled to live his daily life and I came along for the ride in order to keep him company and avoid guilt whenever I tried to go or do something on my own. The mental strain became very apparent about six months into 2015.

Around June or so, our marriage became very close to falling apart. I literally had my hand on the door knob ready to leave Nat for good. I was not going to put up with one of his daughter’s spoiled, selfish and arrogant ways any longer. These were the worst arguments we had had in over 20 years of marriage, but at least a lot of truths were spoken between the two of us, with Nat finally being able to open up about things he was keeping secret in order to avoid hurting feelings between myself and his daughter. Tension still exists in our family, at least from my point of view, but we settled into the final half of 2015 coping with other matters that kept our minds busier elsewhere.

As I was ordered to lose at least 10 pounds and keep the diagnoses of pre-diabetes in check, Nat and I knew it was going to be a challenge for me. With my addiction to chocolate, starchy foods and other good stuff the battle was on. I’m stilling fighting the battle and have almost won the war. Exercising has become a daily routine and my addiction to chocolate has been substituted with small nibbles of dark chocolate which deplete my cravings during the day, and I’ve been able to allow myself some “cheats” now and again when warranted on special occasions. I’m forever thankful to an extremely supporting husband who has encouraged me with praise, helps with meals that are healthy, nutritious and delicious. Of course, he’s been that way all of his life, but has sacrificed a few healthy habits during our marriage, except for eating fish. (To my Scottish hubby it’s a sin not to eat fish).

Since my marching orders to lose the 10 pounds, I’ve lost close to 20 and have maintained my blood sugars in the low 6’s on a daily basis. Naturally, I’ve had one or two slips, but life is not perfect and neither am I. At least Nat and I are so much happier than the first half of the year and for us, that’s all that matters right now – our own sanity.

A small slip back into a minor depression befell me mid-December, but Nat and I talked it out and I soon came to the natural and only conclusions I could – I can’t do a damn thing about the situation I was depressed about!! 

With new resolve, I erected our small Christmas Tree the first of the month and even decorated a small portion of the living room for Nat and myself. Throughout the month we went about our normal business, after all we literally had no Christmas shopping to do. Nat had his yearly physical, I had my hair appointment (blond streaks) and blood work, and along with other usual errands we were able to glide through December without a problem in the world (along with some pretty boring days scattered here and there).

I still needed to feel like it was Christmas, despite the balmy Spring-like weather, and arranged to wrap all of the parcels for one of my sisters that still has two teen-agers at home. As usual, I enjoyed the task immensely and it did, indeed, perk me up enough to get in a somewhat joyful spirit. We did the usual visitations, as in past years, by going to Laura’s Christmas Eve, albeit earlier this year (4:30 pm), which gave us the opportunity to attend my sides’ Christmas Eve get-together at the Irwins’ by 7:00 pm. Psychologically I was elated. I knew I needed to see and speak to my sisters who could converse in matters and events that adults talked about, along with reminiscing and other family matters that mean something to me. Nat’s two girls don’t watch the news,  have no knowledge of current events except what they read on Facebook, which isn’t necessarily a reliable source, and they have no comaraderie with me or even themselves. At least Laura’s former mother-in-law is always in attendance and her and I usually find lots to talk about as Nat and his two girls talk amongst themselves.

Christmas morning was soon upon us, but for some reason, Nat and I were exhausted. We could only conclude that Christmas Eve was more than we could take now. We’d not been socializing except with our great friends and former neighbours, and were not use to the boisterous outbursts of my side of the family, along with the exuberant laughter of everyone in attendance at the Irwins’ Christmas Eve party. We had such a great time our bodies were in shock afterward and needed time off. So we sat quietly until it was time to drive into Thorold and visit with Susan, Tom, Felicia and Bridget to see how their Christmas morning went. As usual, the whole family was munching on their traditional bacon-on-a-bun as we walked in the door. The presents were strewn all around the tree and over-flowing onto the sofa, but everyone was more than ecstatic with what Santa had brought them. We had a great time and enjoyed getting caught up on what two of our four grandkids had been up to.

Within a couple of hours we were back on the road home to grab a bite to eat, relax for an hour or two and then make the mashed potato contribution for Christmas Supper at Claudia’s for 4:30 pm. Again, Nat and I had a fabulous time. Claudia’s moist turkey was its usual hit, along with other delicious contributions from other family members. The after-dinner party was full of great reminiscing (you tend to do that as  you get older) and laughter abounded upstairs and down (nieces and nephews playing poker downstairs). I hated to leave but darkness was all around and the time was late for the 35 minute drive home. It was a great night.

Boxing Day found Nat and I knackered again, but well worth every moment. We sat around and looked at the thank-you gift from Tam (a jigsaw puzzle with the theme “Ground Hog Day” – my birthday), another jigsaw gift from Michele with the theme of Santa Clauses, a beaded bracelet and earrings from Gail, and the most delectable vanilla cupcakes covered knee high in buttercream and coconut from Claudia. She makes her usual jaunt to this bakery in Oakville and thinks of me, which I deeply love her for. Naturally, the cupcakes will get frozen and brought out one by one on those “cheat” days I allow myself.

I, for one, am glad this year is coming to an end, but am also grateful for at least six months of somewhat stability in my life. My attitude has changed somewhat since I’ve been losing the weight and maintaining my blood sugar. I have so much more energy, am back to baking without getting hot and tired and my relationship with Nat has been stable and supportive, as he now knows my true feelings about certain family matters, which has taken over 20 years of walking on glass to get across. For that I’m truly grateful and love him even more.

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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